Quantifying the effects of changing temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH associated with upwelling on the growth and survivorship of juvenile Haliotis rufescens

Climate-related changes in ocean conditions, including warming, reduced dissolved oxygen (DO), increased upwelling, and ocean acidification (OA), are impacting marine ecosystems. Although understanding of these effects is emerging, knowledge of their combined effects on marine life in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME) is limited. To gain a better understanding, we aim to quantify the effects of three environmental drivers: temperature, DO, and pH on the growth and survivorship of the relatively sedentary nearshore species, Haliotis rufescens (red abalone). Species residing in shallow coastal waters are subject to upwelling events which can deliver these potentially stressful conditions by bringing up cold, low DO, low pH waters, which are then advected into nearshore habitats. Red abalone in three size classes (10-20, 20-30, 30-40mm) were exposed to one of six treatments representing the varying exposure of temperature, DO, and pH associated with current and future upwelling scenarios. Mortality and growth, measured as change in buoyant mass, somatic mass, shell size and mass, and mortality was obtained after four weeks. Size classes 20-30mm and 30-40mm had a trend of showing highest percent growth overall within moderate upwelling conditions. All size classes had a trend of showing low percent growth overall within the most futuristic upwelling conditions. Mortalities were only observed in the smallest size class, with those exposed to moderate upwelling conditions having the lowest mortality and those exposed to the most futuristic upwelling conditions experiencing the highest mortality. Knowledge gained from this experiment can provide insight on how marine population dynamics and associated ecosystem services, such as commercial and recreational fishing, might respond to climate change. This information can also help the management and sustainability of upwelling driven marine ecosystems beyond the CCLME into the future.

Neilson L., 2018. Quantifying the effects of changing temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH associated with upwelling on the growth and survivorship of juvenile Haliotis rufescensMonterey Bay Research Institute. Internship paper.

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